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Purina: 10 years of success of the Pets at work program

The brand celebrates the milestone of "Together is better, even in the office"

Purina, a leading company in Europe in terms of food and pet care, proudly celebrates the tenth anniversary of Pets at Work, the program that allows pet owners to live the positive relationship with their four-legged friends even in the workplace. In 2014 Purina, pioneer in Italy to promote the presence of pets in the office, has launched the project right in the headquarters of Assago, then extended to the offices of the production plant in Portogruaro and the offices of the logistics hub in Castiglione delle Stiviere and to the entire Nestlé Group, as a maximum representation of the company’s beliefs and the desire to live and benefit from the link between people and pets at all times of life. A mission that is realized further bringing the project also within some important companies throughout the country, members of the Purina Pets at Work Alliance.

Pets are increasingly part of our social fabric and communities: the pet population in Italy exceeds 65 million, of which almost 19 million are dogs or cats. Despite this, a research by Purina with BVA Doxa shows that in Italy for over 80% of people is not allowed to bring a pet in the office, although many pet owners, especially dog owners, would like to do so. Over 7 out of 10 people recognize the positive influence of four-legged friends on the workplace, such as better emotional well-being, creating a more peaceful and relaxed environment and reducing stress. Values and convictions have always been inherent in Purina, which have determined the creation of the Pets at Work program.

With the aim of expanding the positive impact of this initiative, moreover, since 2017 Purina has launched the Pets At Work Alliance and has made available to companies its knowledge and experience, creating a toolkit to make the offices pet-friendly and provide more specific targeted support on each stage of the project. "More and more companies have contacted us over the years to take this path with us, and in particular in recent years we have seen an exponential increase in contacts to deepen the theme, better understand the implications and benefits of a similar project" commented Sara Faravelli, Corporate Communication Director Italy and South Europe of Purina. "And we are really proud that they recognize in Purina a point of reference to rely on for the implementation of Pets At Work, as well as it fills us with satisfaction to see how the link between people and pets is evolving quickly and pets play an increasingly crucial role in society, at home and in the workplace".

A Welfare and Wellbeing program increasingly required by the corporate population

"Active listening to the corporate population is the basis of wellbeing programs, and in our case the request for the implementation of the program came from the employees," says Giulio Natali, Chief Human Resources Officer of Fater, company that operates in the market of absorbent products for the person and detergent products for cleaning fabrics and the home, where the program is active for just over a year and dogs registered to date are already 11. Also at UNI - the Italian Standardization Agency, a private non-profit association that carries out technical standardization activities, the request came from an employee, Lucia Ramazzotti, Communication Manager, who in 2017 decided to welcome a dog into the family and asked for the opportunity to bring it to the company. The positive response from the management was the starting point for the decision to insert and structure the program, thanks to the help of Purina, so as to allow all employees to use it and enjoy the benefits.

The benefits of the program: socialization, stress reduction and better work-life balance 

Thanks to an internal survey among Purina employees who have been living this positive relationship every day for the past 10 years, it emerges that 100% of the members of the Pets At Work initiative are satisfied and recognize better dog management, Less guilt related to leaving him at home alone and better work/private life balance. Even those who did not use the initiative themselves are very satisfied, in fact 93% of employees like to have pets in the office, because they put you in a good mood, encourage adoption and facilitate interactions with colleagues. More than 90% are proud to be part of a reality that supports and implements this initiative and 92% of respondents would advise friends working for other companies to include the Pets at Work program in their welfare program.

The presence of dogs in the office creates a better atmosphere with less stress and more socialization among colleagues. Carmelo Lombardo, ceo of Zoetis Italia, a leading company in the animal health sector where Pets at Work has been active since 2019, says that employees have the opportunity to interact with each other and meet people from different teams, with whom they would not normally interact. The love for animals is often a very strong topic of conversation that unites people and allows you to establish positive relationships.

Better pet awareness encourages adoption 

The ability to benefit from the positive impact of pets in the office and the better management that Pets at Work provides to owners are two very strong drivers that can even encourage adoption. In YAM11203, creative agency, production company and events agency, as Valentina Corti, head of communication and external relations, says, the last two employees who welcomed a dog into their family did it thanks to the program, which has solved a substantial part of the problems, for example related to the management and organization of the working day, which over the years had discouraged them.

Respect for colleagues at the basis of coexistence between people and pets to protect those who are allergic or afraid 

Even for the most distrustful, the presence of pets in the office has been a positive experience and in many cases has allowed them to overcome their fears. This is possible thanks to the respect of the opinions and preferences of all: the objective of the program is in fact to create a pleasant environment for all the people involved and leave to everyone the possibility to choose if and to what extent to interact with pets. Those who still do not like the presence of dogs in the office said they were reassured by the paths and spaces dedicated to them, from elevators to meeting rooms, up to the break room. In situations where there is no area dedicated to the project, as for UNI - the Italian Standardization Authority, the rule is one: everyone can bring the dog to the office but must have verified that all colleagues agree, an approach that encourages open dialogue and has always been positive.

Co-construction of spaces to support the needs of all

In each of the realities of the Purina Pets at Work Alliance the spaces have been built to meet the needs of all thanks to dialogue and especially to the active listening of people: At the initial stage of project creation, employees were involved to provide their own point of view and expectations. In some cases, as for Zoetis, the approach was extremely inclusive and, in addition to pet owners, the most reticent employees were included in the definition of the company protocol, so as to have a complete point of view and create guidelines appreciated by all.
Rules for the entry of pets in the office and expert support 

In general, to ensure a positive experience for dogs in the office and for all employees, pet entry is regulated by certain guidelines, which vary depending on the specific needs. In Purina all pet owners who intend to participate in the program are required to obtain a license that attests the good behavior of the dog and the positive relationship of the pet and its owner, practice that was then implemented in many of the companies involved, as well as in Palomba Serafini, architecture and design studio, where the 9 dogs participating in the program have obtained this certification. Obtaining the license includes meetings with some experts, such as the veterinary doctor and the dog expert, and is a very useful service for pet owners, who receive useful advice to live in peace with their dog in different environments, that can also be put into practice outside the working environment.

For all the participating companies the experiences are very different but all positive: Giacomo Cortese, head of Hr coes in Boehringer Ingelheim, international pharmaceutical company, says that people have shown great interest in expanding pet friendly spaces, to allow more and more dogs to go to the office with the owners and to ensure the well-being registered with their presence by all. In light of the excellent results achieved to date, many companies are considering the possibility of opening the doors of their facilities to pets: an example is Korian, European leader in personal care services and residences for the elderly, who believes in the strong benefit of the relationship between people and pets for their employees and who estimated a possible involvement of 30% of the company population with about 45 dogs.

"We are very proud of this initiative, which concretizes our belief: when pets and people who love them are together, life is enriched. Our people have always considered the initiative Pets at Work very positive and they are proud to belong to a reality that encourages and implements projects of this type; we are happy to find that even the companies that have entered the project thanks to the Purina Pets at Work Alliance are equally satisfied. We will continue to put our experience at the service of realities that have our same values to support them in a process of transformation of the working environment to welcome our four-legged friends, thus encouraging more pet friendly environments" says Rafael Lopez, Regional Director Italy and South Europe of Purina.


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